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Thermal scope versus night vision
Equipment
Contributors to this thread:
fuzzy 16-Dec-23
Glunt@work 16-Dec-23
bigswivle 16-Dec-23
Dale06 16-Dec-23
4nolz@work 16-Dec-23
deerhunter72 16-Dec-23
Pat Lefemine 16-Dec-23
fuzzy 16-Dec-23
Lewis 16-Dec-23
drycreek 16-Dec-23
Thornton 16-Dec-23
fuzzy 16-Dec-23
Bowboy 16-Dec-23
Bowboy 16-Dec-23
Thornton 16-Dec-23
fuzzy 16-Dec-23
Drop Tine 16-Dec-23
fuzzy 16-Dec-23
Buskill 16-Dec-23
fuzzy 16-Dec-23
Buskill 16-Dec-23
fuzzy 16-Dec-23
Pat Lefemine 16-Dec-23
Lewis 16-Dec-23
Thornton 16-Dec-23
fuzzy 17-Dec-23
Fuzzy 17-Dec-23
fuzzy 17-Dec-23
Thornton 17-Dec-23
fuzzy 17-Dec-23
fuzzy 17-Dec-23
Zbone 17-Dec-23
Pat Lefemine 17-Dec-23
nchunter 17-Dec-23
nchunter 17-Dec-23
fuzzy 17-Dec-23
Drop Tine 17-Dec-23
fuzzy 17-Dec-23
bigswivle 17-Dec-23
Zbone 17-Dec-23
fuzzy 17-Dec-23
Drop Tine 18-Dec-23
fuzzy 18-Dec-23
fuzzy 19-Dec-23
fuzzy 29-Dec-23
Pat Lefemine 29-Dec-23
Thornton 29-Dec-23
Thornton 29-Dec-23
fuzzy 29-Dec-23
fuzzy 29-Dec-23
fuzzy 30-Dec-23
Hunts_with_stick 30-Dec-23
Thornton 30-Dec-23
bigeasygator 30-Dec-23
fuzzy 01-Jan-24
tener 28-Mar-24
Huntiam 28-Mar-24
Tejas 28-Mar-24
Thornton 28-Mar-24
fuzzy 28-Mar-24
Pat Lefemine 28-Mar-24
Pat Lefemine 29-Mar-24
fuzzy 29-Mar-24
From: fuzzy
16-Dec-23
I'm starting to get interested in coyote control. I'll be working small mountain farms with broken terrain, woods, stone piles and brush. Shots will be under 200 yards most likely under 100. Equipment is a conventional bolt action in 6mm Remington and possibly 6mm BR. Which optics are best, thermal scope or night vision?

From: Glunt@work
16-Dec-23
Thermal but they are pricey, IR could fit the bill with a strong emitter.

From: bigswivle
16-Dec-23
Thermal. I’ve got pulsar scopes and binoculars. They’re expensive but man are they nice.

From: Dale06
16-Dec-23
I hunted coyotes with a friend that has a Pulsar monocular and rifle scope, both thermal. They were incredible, but expensive. I believe the monocular was two grand and the rifle scope, five grand. He had some other brand at half the cost and said it was junk. I know northing about other night hunting technologies, but thermal works great.

From: 4nolz@work
16-Dec-23
Thermal.Nothing compares.

From: deerhunter72
16-Dec-23
I don’t have a thermal scope but know a few people that do and they love them. Seems like Pat uses thermal scopes for coyotes, maybe he will chime in here.

From: Pat Lefemine
16-Dec-23

Pat Lefemine's embedded Photo
two weeks ago in Ohio. Got a double. First shot was 60 yards, second dog was 150 yards.
Pat Lefemine's embedded Photo
two weeks ago in Ohio. Got a double. First shot was 60 yards, second dog was 150 yards.
I'll play two videos here. The first is night vision which I am projecting an IR light mounted on a tree to illuminate the area. I am using an ATN X-Sight 5 5-25x which is $900 and you need an external Infrared Illuminator (IR) which is about $200. (wish it was legal to shoot that Fisher!!)

Night vision pros - under $1000. Nigh vision cons - you need to project IR light, or a clear night with a full moon overhead, they don't work in rain, fog, snow, it's basically a low-res video screen subject to delays, the scope eats batteries, and it's impossible to find anything in brush, behind grass, trees etc as it illuminates everything in front of the scope rendering the target nearly impossible to see.

This second video is with an AGM 35-384 thermal which can be purchased for around 3k.

Thermal Pros - don't need to project IR light, can shoot in rain, snow, fog, can see them coming from 600 yards out, can see them in brush, behind grass, and can find them easily if they run off. Thermal Cons - 3x as expensive as night vision.

We only use thermal now. I just bought a new AGM 384-640 that is about $4500. They are expensive but there's no comparison between thermal and night vision for coyotes, hogs, and just about anything at night.

From: fuzzy
16-Dec-23
Thanks Pat that's what I needed.

From: Lewis
16-Dec-23
Go thermal hell you ever see a hearse pulling a wagon you can’t take it with you Good luck Lewis

From: drycreek
16-Dec-23
Pat nailed it !

Lewis, you gotta have it to spend it. ;-)

From: Thornton
16-Dec-23
Thermal all the way. Athlon makes one that puts most to shame.

From: fuzzy
16-Dec-23
Thornton which model do you recommend?

From: Bowboy
16-Dec-23
That’s pretty niffy Pat.

From: Bowboy
16-Dec-23

Bowboy's Link
This must be the one Thornton is mentioning.

From: Thornton
16-Dec-23
Yes, the ATS. It's on my list of several toys to procure soon.

From: fuzzy
16-Dec-23
Thornton do you have experience with that model? Which features do you like about it?

From: Drop Tine
16-Dec-23
I use a Thermal Monocular for scanning and night vision on the rifle. We have from farm dogs, Coyotes, to Wolves where I hunt. Need the detail that night vision scopes have over thermal to ID the animal. The thermal scanner is a must at least for picking up critters coming to the call.

From: fuzzy
16-Dec-23
Drop Tine thanks. That sounds like a good system

From: Buskill
16-Dec-23
I run a Burris BTS 50 scope on an AR and also use a Burris BTH as my hand held monocular. Very pleased. Not sure what current prices are but they were a great value when I bought them. I would guess maybe 2 grand a piece now. You could always scan with a red light and shoot with a red light if you wanna go cheap at first. Then slowly incorporate one of the thermals as desired.

From: fuzzy
16-Dec-23
I'm definitely not gonna drop 10k on a setup but I am ok with buying quality equipment at a commensurate price point.

From: Buskill
16-Dec-23
I can meet you in Bluefield one evening and you can check my thermals out if you are tempted to buy one or both ….assuming they are still available. I’ve not looked.

From: fuzzy
16-Dec-23
That sounds great Buskill name the day (pm me)

From: Pat Lefemine
16-Dec-23
Droptine makes a good point. My son was calling over bait two years ago and a dog came flying in. As he was squeezing he noticed a collar on it. Thank God he didn’t shoot.

The Amish guys were coon hunting my property and their dogs ran into the predator call. I grabbed the dog and yelled into the forest “ I know you’re out there and I have your dog, show yourself “

All of a sudden headlights turned on up the hill and they walked down to us. We videotaped the encounter. It wasn’t pretty.

Their lead dog was literally 1 second from getting smoked.

From: Lewis
16-Dec-23
Fuzzy droptine I meant no disrespect or trying to show off if it was taken that way I apologize Lewis

From: Thornton
16-Dec-23
Fuzzy- I have minimal experience with thermal other than a $3k Burris I've used that a friend owns, and an ATN. My other friend sells the Athlons.

From: fuzzy
17-Dec-23
Lewis it certainly wasn't taken that way.

From: Fuzzy
17-Dec-23
the positive ID is a big thing for me. I want to know for sure if it's a coyote vs dog (shoot versus don't shoot) or a coon/possum/skunk versus housecat (shoot/shoot/shoot versus shoot twice and bury) lol

From: fuzzy
17-Dec-23
Thornton what do you think of the ATN? Price seems too low to me for quality?

From: Thornton
17-Dec-23
Wasn't too impressed. My friend took his off the gun and uses it for a spotter so he doesn't have to sling his heavy rifle with the Athlon around to spot varmints.

From: fuzzy
17-Dec-23
As I suspected. Thanks!

From: fuzzy
17-Dec-23
May be a good idea to set up two weapons, one Thermal and one N.V.for different scenarios.

From: Zbone
17-Dec-23
Pat - Curious, what state was that Fisher?

From: Pat Lefemine
17-Dec-23
New York

From: nchunter
17-Dec-23
Rats, Fuzzy, I just called Steve Cox on 42 to see if his son still was using his 3k buck thermal scope for coyotes. He just sold it. I looked through it at night on some deer on the hill behind them. They were about 200 yards off and they were crystal clear.

From: nchunter
17-Dec-23
He bought it for 3200 and just sold it for 3000. Must be in demand.

From: fuzzy
17-Dec-23
Thanks for trying Fred. I'm going to see what Santa brings. Lol

From: Drop Tine
17-Dec-23
Fuzzy, you only “need” one rifle. I highly suggest a thermal scanner of some type. If you’re scanning with the rifle you will get tired of that real quick.

From: fuzzy
17-Dec-23
Drop Tine I appreciate that. Also unsafe practice. I was talking about taking thermal for some hunts and NV for others not both.

From: bigswivle
17-Dec-23
Binoculars>>>>monocular

Just an opinion

From: Zbone
17-Dec-23
Thanks Pat...

From: fuzzy
17-Dec-23
Also "more toys" lol

From: Drop Tine
18-Dec-23
Fuzzy, check out the RIX Leap L3 and L6 for thermals. Affordable as far as thermal scopes go. 5 year warranty and 10 day turnaround if work is needed. I joined their Facebook page and it’s a lot of guys killing critters and not complaining about them.

From: fuzzy
18-Dec-23
Thanks!

From: fuzzy
19-Dec-23
So here's what I'm doing to "get my feet wet". I've got a AGM Rattler thermal on the way plan to use hand held for spotting, and a Sightmark Wraith Night Vision for the weapon. Plan to put it on a .22 lr for now, pop some coons and possums and get used to it.

From: fuzzy
29-Dec-23
Update The NV on the AR .22 works pretty well on possums and coons. I bought a Bergara bolt action .22wmr plan to switch it over for a little more punch. I'm putting the Thermal on my TC 7mm-08 for actual coyote focused outings.

From: Pat Lefemine
29-Dec-23

Pat Lefemine's embedded Photo
Pat Lefemine's embedded Photo
That's a lot of cartridge for a Coyote gun.

If I can make a suggestion... buy a inexpensive Ruger American Rifle in .223. It is pretty cheap, readily available, has a rail mount as standard and that will work for your thermal, has a threaded barrel if you ever want to go supressed, and you can keep that as your dedicated thermal rifle. I have two AR's that are my goto night rigs as thermal is a bit of a pain to sight in and I don't want to be swapping scopes.

I've been coyote hunting for decades and have tried everything from a .300BLK, .243, 22-250, 308, .17, and a 6.5 Creedmor. After all of that, I have finally settled on what I started with; a .225/556. Cheap ammo, tons of rifles available, low recoil, available in subsonic (but I don't recommend that), and it absolutely smokes Coyotes, bobcats, and just about every predator smaller than a wolf. I also shoot suppressed and while there's a sonic crack, it's not too bad with a Can.

Just a note on subs; I spent a lot of time building out a suppressed 300BLK AR using Hornady BLK 208gr subsonics. Quiet as hell. But I lost half the coyotes I body shot. If it wasn't for having a thermal monocular I would never have found half of them. There's no bullet expansion, think of it like shooting a field point through a deer. The 223 suppressed is my goto now and most dogs drop within 10 yards.

Good luck.

From: Thornton
29-Dec-23

Thornton's embedded Photo
Ruger American Ranch in 300 blk with YHM Phantom silencer. I'll be putting my thermal on this or my similar .223
Thornton's embedded Photo
Ruger American Ranch in 300 blk with YHM Phantom silencer. I'll be putting my thermal on this or my similar .223
The Hornady 190 gr subs in 300 blackout have a crack on the first shot on a monocore silencer, but following shots are movie quiet. I have not killed anything with them yet, but have with handloads. Shot a pair of bucks over the years, and like using a round ball muzzleloader, your shot has to be exact due to them not expanding like Pat said. The last buck was a 150" ten point at about 60 yards, and I zipped a 150 gr Spitzer pushed by Trailboss propellant through him at only about 950 fps. He only ran 100 yards. My Ruger Scout .308 with subsonics performs almost identical to the .300 blackout.

From: Thornton
29-Dec-23

Thornton's embedded Photo
Thornton's embedded Photo
Anybody ever use a 9mm ? I've got several carbines and a bunch of subsonic 147 gr hollowpoints.

From: fuzzy
29-Dec-23
Thanks for the tip Pat. I like the 7mm-08, it's my go to groundhog rifle. It's threaded, it's all-weather composite like the American. Ammo is cheap (reloaded) and I don't mind making big holes in stuff. :)

From: fuzzy
29-Dec-23
Thornton I have shot one yote with 9mm. Gold Dot out of a Ruger P89DC. Hit him mid body at a trot, 20ish yards. He made it about 80 more yards before I got a clear shot with 50 caliber ML and finished him.

From: fuzzy
30-Dec-23
On the plus side and after reflection Pat, .223 would have one major advantage. An excuse for buying another gun ;) Not sure if youce familiar with the TC Compass rifles but they're a similar price point to the Ruger American, Savage Axis and Mossberg Patriot and in my opinion a much better rifle.

30-Dec-23
Do you have to have a license for the silencer? Can you use a rifle for coyote in Ohio? Or is that somewhere else?

From: Thornton
30-Dec-23
You have to get a tax stamp through the ATF for all Class III firearms which include silencers, machine guns, and short barreled rifles and shotguns. I own 3, and my wait time to be approved by the ATF 13 years ago was 6 months. I hear now the wait time is up to ten months.

From: bigeasygator
30-Dec-23

bigeasygator's embedded Photo
bigeasygator's embedded Photo
Some of my night vision gear. Looking to add an COTI (Clip on thermal imager) to the BNVDs next year to have both NV and Thermal capabilities in the goggles. I have a few different guns with IR lasers, including the one in the picture which is an HK416 (laser on this one is an ATPIAL-C). Killer setup, but most effective inside 100 yards.

From: fuzzy
01-Jan-24
So far I'm liking the .22 wmr with the Thermal.

From: tener
28-Mar-24
its funny:)

From: Huntiam
28-Mar-24
Thermal 10 to 1

From: Tejas
28-Mar-24
We are running mostly Iray scopes…with exception of one older Pulsar on a pig gun.! Iray is about as good as it gets. Spotting with an Iray micro and an AGM scope

From: Thornton
28-Mar-24
How much is that helmet setup BEG

From: fuzzy
28-Mar-24
I ended up going with both. I've learned I really need a handheld as well

From: Pat Lefemine
28-Mar-24
Handheld is critical. I’m heading out now to sit over a dead cow all night.

From: Pat Lefemine
29-Mar-24

Pat Lefemine's embedded Photo
Pat Lefemine's embedded Photo
One Down last night. 1:30Am.

From: fuzzy
29-Mar-24
Remember Pat, can't kill a dead cow with field points

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